For this very exciting, information-goes-over-my-head 99 question interview, I sat down with Franklin Franks and Kerr Franks of the publishing company Franklin/Kerr Press.
Actually, neither of their names are Franklin or Kerr or Franks. But they do have a publishing company! So that’s real cool. Read on, and find out more about what’s going on.
- Welcome, not-Franklin and not-Kerr. Let’s get the most important question out of the way. When and why did you have the idea for Franklin Kerr Press? How did you come up with such a misleading name?
I honestly don’t remember exactly when the idea came to mind, but it was a few years ago.
Basically, what happened is I had published my own work and got into the publishing world. I started seeing other independent authors doing the same and I couldn’t help but notice how most struggled with putting out professional looking material. I hadn’t read most of them, but just seeing some of the covers and how the interiors of their work were formatted was enough. I wanted to be able to help some of them put out more quality products with well-designed covers and interiors that didn’t come off as amateurish.
As for the name, it went through a few iterations. It started off as Array Book, which was sort of an IT thing since my background is in software, but when Caleb and I decided that we wanted to pursue this venture we wanted something different, but something than rang traditional. So we came up with Franklin/Kerr Press which is literally the intersection I resided at when I published my first book.
- I accept your answer. So at “the comp”, what is the process for publishing a book/anthology at Franklin Kerr?
The process is probably like any other. The author sends in a sample of the work, usually the first three chapters, along with a brief synopsis, their author biography and links to their social media. We read through all of this and make an initial decision on whether or not to read the rest of the manuscript. Once we finish reading the full story we would make an offer to the author along with any requirements we might have in the manuscript.
Then we would go about the publishing part of editing, more editing, cover design, interior formatting. Basically, we’d get the book ready, do all the copyrighting, obtaining the required ISBNs, barcodes, setting the price and getting it setup for distribution and sell by the release date. We also would prepare and handle at least some form of marketing to help push the book.
Since we take a traditional approach to publishing, we take on our authors as a risk, meaning we don’t ask for any financial contribution on the part of the author. Instead, we only accept books that we think we can sell and then pay the author royalties.
- Interesting. So you’re a nice publishing company. Good to know. What type of books do you actually publish?
We publish, or plan to publish, a wide variety of books. Currently we have action/adventure stories with Caleb’s Lucas Caine series, we have horror with our anthology and Jordon’s The Reserve. We recently started to publish a series of partially related sci-fi stories called Into the Unknown, and we actually will soon be entering the world of Young Adult fiction as well. But that’s still months off.
After we publish Caleb’s next Lucas Caine novel (hopefully this Fall), The Search for the Fountain of Youth, he is going to begin a murder mystery trilogy.
- Murder… Mystery… Moving on. All together, how many works have been published so far through Franklin Kerr?
So far, we’ve published 10 stories, ranging from full-length novels, to anthologies and short stories.
- You’ve moved my soul with your answers. If you’ve also moved my readers’ souls and they decide to donate, what will their money be used for?
At this time, we’re not taking donations. But if at some point we do that, it would largely go toward expenses such as editing, proofreading and cover design.
- You won’t even take my money. Tsk tsk. Well, back to publishing questions. If you could choose one book to republish through Franklin Kerr Press (and you get all the money/fame from publishing it), what book would you choose?
Jordon: Jurassic Park. First, that’s my favorite book ever. Second, it’s a dinosaur book and everyone loves dinosaurs.
Caleb: That’s a near impossible question for me to answer as there are so many choices across various genres. But if you tell me I get all the money and put a gun to my head, I’d choose Star Wars: A New Hope. I mean, look at how much George Lucas is worth. And it’s Star Wars.
- Nobody said Harry Potter? Fine. On a similar note, what is the #1 author you would love to have published through your company?
Jordon: This is a lot harder than the former question. In one way I’d say Michael Crichton, the author of Jurassic Park, but there are so many that I love. I mean who wouldn’t want to publish Stephen King. There’s also James Rollins in the action adventure world, Dean Koontz with his horror suspense novels, John Green with his amazing young adult stories, the list goes on. In the end, I think if I had to choose, I’d probably go with Crichton though.
Caleb: If you are looking at the type of books we’d ideally like to publish, I agree with Jordon. Crichton wrote so many types of genres so well. He could thrill you, scare you, fascinate you, and make you think. Something not many people know about Crichton is that he first wrote some pulpy crime novels under the penname ‘John Lange’ while he attended Harvard. The man possessed an entire range of writing talents.
- This is what I’ve been dying to know. If Franklin Kerr Press had a mascot, what would it be?
Jack-Jack from The Incredibles. I think he embodies everything we are.
- Most important question of all: do you have a skyscraper in New York City where you work, and can I/we come visit?
Haha! Yeah, it’s right by the Empire State Building. We’re amazing like that. Nah, we don’t even have a central office. We operate with a small budget. Caleb has a 100 square foot space set up in the corner of his den where he does most of his work and Jordon does most of his at a local coffee shop/used bookstore.
- No skyscraper, don’t even live in New York. Not to sound rude, but how are you a real publishing company?
I guess it depends on how you define real. I’d say real is based on the model, and we operate off of the traditional model as I mentioned earlier. To me that’s the important part, we don’t expect our authors to pay anything, we take the risk and give them the benefit.
The paradigm has shifted in recent years as to what defines, not just publishing companies, but business in general. With the advent of the internet and cloud technology, it’s possible to create successful companies without any of the partners ever actually meeting. Fortunately for us, we live less than two miles apart.
- Very smart answer. Too many big words, though. Now, let’s get a fight started. Which one of you do more work in the company?
For now, Jordon handles most of the book setup while Caleb does the financial side. Since we are a fledgling company, the finance side isn’t as time-consuming as Jordon’s role.
- So, no fight. Fine, then. Give us your email, Facebook, credit card info, and social security number. So we can contact you….
I’m going to have to pass on the credit card and social security numbers, but your readers can find us online at www.FranklinKerr.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FranklinKerrPress and they can e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org
Next time, on 99 Questions…. not sure yet. If anybody wants to feel cool and get asked a bunch of questions by email, let me know! email@example.com. Trust me, we’ll find something to interview you about.